Organisational Culture; Unit 4 Research Topic - Notes

Notes made from a combination of resources.

Covers Types of Culture, Influences on Culture, Impact of Culture, Reasons for a Change of Culture, Ways of Changing Culture and Problems with Chaning Culture.

This was my exams special research topic so had to studies in more detail than the book provided; this won't be the research topic again so this much detail won't be necessary, but knowing some of it will be useful

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Defining and Identifying Organisational Culture
Key Definitions:
"The way we do things around here"
"A set of norms, attitudes, beliefs and assumptions shared by members within an organisation, that
influence the way they perceive, think, feel and behave, and which give each organisation a
distinctive character"
Behaviour is learned pre-disposition to act in a certain was a consequence of environment
Norms are rules; expected types of social behaviour established overtime as individuals
Attitudes are an expression of the values and beliefs people hold and they determine the
actions and reactions of an individual
Values concern what people consider as desirable or undesirable behaviour
Beliefs concern what people think is or is not true
Assumptions are things taken from grant as true, without consideration of all the facts
"A pattern of basic assumptions ­ invented, discovered or developed by a given group as it learns to
cope with its problems of external adaption and internal integration"
Edgar Shein
Concerns groups
Created through interaction and shared experiences
Culture is pervasive, it affects the way people thing, feel behave, contribute, interact and perform
New staff are introduced into the culture by formal and informal methods
Charles Handy
Stephen Robbins
Edgar Schein
Robert Cooke
Geert Hofstede
Deal and Kennedy
Fons Trempenar
Levels of Organisational Culture:
Scheins 3 Layers:
1) Artefacts:
The first level
Characteristics of the culture that can be easily seen, heard and felt ­ the surface
manifestation of culture
2) Exposed Values:
The second level
Values that are accepted and supported by members within the firm
3) Underlying Assumptions:
The bottom level
The unobservable, less easily identifiable or measureable elements of culture
Grow out of values until they become taken for granted and drop out of people's

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Rousseau's 5 Layers:
A multi-layered model structured as rings "organised from readily accessible outer layers to difficult
to access inner layers
Readily Accessible:
o Visible signs of culture
o Artefacts
o Patterns of behaviour
Less Accessible
o Unobservable elements of culture
o Behavioural norms
o Values
o Fundamental assumptions
Socialisation: Where the attitudes, thoughts and behaviour of the individual are affected by the firm
Cultural Web of a Firm
The paradigm encapsulates and reinforces the behaviours observed in other parts of the cultural
web…read more

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The set of assumptions held in common taken for granted by the firm
John and Scholes cultural web
Job titles
Film jargon
Power Structure:
Where power comes from
How they get the power
Organisational Structure:
Formal structures of authority
Less formal structures
Control Systems:
How important activities are measured and awarded
Rituals and Routines:
How people behave with each other
How people interact with people outside the firm
Told by employees
Types of Organisational Structure:
Firms…read more

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Harrison and Handy's 4 Culture Model:
Four quadrant model based on the twin axis of formulation and centralisation
Formulation: The extent to which the firm was written policies, rules, regulations, job descriptions
and standing orders
Centralisation: The extent to which the firm as a whole passes authority and responsibility for
decision making down the firm
Power Culture:
High Centralisation / Low Formalisation
Employees serve a strong, dominant leader
Power is centralised
Effectiveness is dependent upon trust and personal communication
Little bureaucracy
Control is exercised by…read more

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Low Centralisation / High Formalisation
Focus is solely on the individual
Organisational objectives may be defined by personal ambitions
Little of no over structure or system
Firms seldom has the power to evict the individual
Power and influence are be consent and shared
Individuals are valued for their skills, professionalism, creativity and ingenuity
People have similar backgrounds and training and meet to share knowledge and expertise
Highly motivational as employees are valued, but potential for conflict as there is no power base
Cameron and Quinn's…read more

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Autocracy (Create) Culture):
External focus on differentiation / Flexibility and discretion
Innovative and pioneering initiatives
Developing new products / services are preparing for the future
Management is to foster entrepreneurship, creativity and activity on the cutting edge
Adaption and innovation lead to new resources and profitability
Effective leadership is `visionary, innovative and risk orientated'
Readiness for change and meeting new challenges is necessary
Deal and Kennedy's 4 Cultures, 2 Factors:
There are four different types of culture established by comparing two factors:
Touch-Guy,…read more

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Club Culture:
All about `fitting in' ­ very particularly recruitment
Promotion from within than values seniority
Regular appraisals
Fortress Culture:
Survival is important with a lack of job security
Redundancies are made with no consideration
Popular in firms operating in environments that are sensitive to changes in the economy
Goffee and Jones & Homes:
Culture is determined by levels of sociality and solidarity
Networked: High sociability / Low solidarity
Mercenary: Low sociability / High solidarity
Fragmented: Low sociability / Low solidarity
Communal: High sociability /…read more

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The stronger the culture, the greater the likelihood there is of members, accepting ideas from above
without question ­ a reluctance to challenge the status quo
Inhabit innovation
Weak Culture:
Does not possess an identifiable set of values and beliefs, or possesses them but fails to get them
widely shared
Results in inconsistent behaviour, conflict and lack of commitment
Extensive rules, regulations and procedures in order to aid control and coordination
Members may feel less comfortable and less secure
Produce a diversity of ideas
Influences…read more

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Owners / Shareholders in a private sector firm are entitled to have a say and vote on important
matters, hence their opinions can influence the decision making
Influence of owners / shareholders will likely be stronger where the ownership is in the hands of a
small number
Philosophy of Senior Managers, Organisational Structure, Systems and Procedures
and Leadership Style:
Managers are in control of decision making
Senior manager's beliefs and preferences regarding how the firm and employees should be
managed and controlled with determine the…read more

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Size and Geographical Spread of the Firm:
"Size of the firm has often proved to be one of the single most important variables in influencing
choice of structure or culture" (Handy)
Smaller firms can have a more `hands on' approach with its employees
As a firm grows it becomes difficult for the managers to communicate with each employee; hence
why they have more formalised cultures and develop specialist groups
The more diverse the firm in terms of activities and location, the more stakeholders interests there…read more


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